Transportation infrastructure was designed to handle a broad range of climate impacts based on historic observations and trends, but less is known about how the system will perform amid the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Such events pose a threat to the safety, reliability, effectiveness, and sustainability of transportation infrastructure and operations. KTC’s Resilient Systems Program studies the vulnerabilities in transportation systems and evaluates strategies to make transportation assets more resilient over their entire service lives. Key research topics include resilience planning, modeling the relationship between weather events and infrastructure damage, system and route optimization, and evaluation of materials that come into contact with concrete and asphalt.

featured project

Snow and Ice Removal Route Optimization in Kentucky

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spends $40-80 million per year on snow and ice removal and road treatment. KTC researchers used GIS-based tools to identify routing for trucks and show where more or fewer trucks were needed. While high traffic routes will always receive the highest priority, optimizing the routing system can improve efficiency, increase safety, and reduce the amount of time and funding needed to treat roadways during winter storms. The analysis was based on a typical winter storm of one inch of snowfall. KTC’s route tree concept structured each removal route around a central high priority road, allowing truck drivers to become familiar with the roads on their route. As a result, drivers will react better to a non-typical winter storm and they understand the safest and most effective way to treat the roads, treat all routes on schedule, and use fewer trucks in the process. This project was selected by the AASHTO Region 2 states as one of four High Value Research projects for that region, and was included in the Sweet 16 projects highlighted at the summer meeting of the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee and at the 2019 TRB Annual Meeting. 


  • Transportation Resiliency Improvement Plan
  • Lexington Snowplow Route Optimization

Recently Completed Projects

  • Evaluation of Durable Pavement Striping
  • Evaluation of New Technologies for Tracking the Distribution of Deicing Materials
  • KYTC Emergency Repair Process Evaluation
  • Evaluation of Liquid Additives for Winter Maintenance Applications
  • Asset Management, Extreme Weather, and Proxy Indicators
  • Transportation System Vulnerability and Resilience to Extreme Weather Events and Other Natural Hazards
  • Snow and Ice Route Optimization for all KYTC Districts



Benjamin Blandford

Program Manager/Senior Research Scientist


Erin Lammers-Staats

Research Engineer